The Recording Academy has long championed the establishment of a terrestrial radio (AM/FM) performance right for sound recordings, and worked alongside key Congressional champions, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), to draft the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA). With strong support from the Recording Academy, and partners in the musicFIRST coalition, the American Music Fairness Act was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 24, 2021.
What Is the American Music Fairness Act?
The American Music Fairness Act is a bipartisan bill that establishes a performance right for sound recordings broadcasted by terrestrial (AM/FM) radio. The bill ends a decades-long loophole that has enabled AM/FM radio broadcasters to use the music of hard-working performers and producers without compensating them for their work.
The American Music Fairness Act establishes a domestic performance right for sound recordings played on AM/FM radio stations. Under the bill, artists, performers, producers, and other music makers involved in the creation of a sound recording would be entitled to fair market rate for their music played on radio stations across the U.S., just like they currently receive on other music platforms like streaming services, satellite radio, and internet radio. AMFA also contains important protections for small and non-profit broadcasters to ensure that local and community supported radio stations can continue to be diverse and thrive.
Why Do We Need the American Music Fairness Act and a Performance Right on Radio?
Empowering creators to have control over their own intellectual property is a fundamental and constitutionally protected right in America. Unfortunately, this does not hold true for AM/FM radio—the only industry in the U.S. that is legally authorized to use the intellectual property of others without permission or compensation. Big radio corporations have earned billions in advertising revenues by exploiting music and its creators, while the creators themselves have lost out on millions of dollars of potential royalties.
The lack of a domestic performance right is exacerbated by the fact that virtually every industrialized country in the world a performance right on radio. When American music is played overseas, other countries collect royalties for American artists—approximately $200 million annually—but never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.
The American Music Fairness Act rights these wrongs, and ensures American music makers are able to earn a fair rate for their work.
"The American Music Fairness Act will protect the artists we know as they make the music we love. For the first time, artists would see a piece of the massive profits made on the backs of their creative work. Congress must end the unfair deal AM/FM radio has forced on musicians."
— Congressman Ted Deutch (D-Fla.)
"Every musical artist who first picked up a drumstick, sang in front of a mirror or wrote a lyric from the heart did so because they were inspired to create and share. While that is their gift to us, ultimately, they are the true owners, and we need to protect their rights."
— Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
"We commend this bipartisan bill led by Reps. Deutch and Issa, and we thank them for joining us in the fight for fair pay. Artists create music that can bring us together and heal us, and they deserve to be paid when their work is played on FM/AM radio."
— Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy
Who Supports the American Music Fairness Act?
In addition to the Recording Academy, the American Music Fairness Act is supported by the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Musicians, Future of Music Coalition, musicFIRST Coalition, National Federation of Community Broadcasters, RIAA, SAG-AFTRA, SoundExchange, and more.
What’s Next for the American Music Fairness Act?
The American Music Fairness Act has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee—chaired by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), an original co-sponsor of the bill—for consideration. The Recording Academy, working alongside proponents of the bill, will make AMFA a top legislative priority during the 117th Congress.
To help advance the bill, supporters are encouraged to contact their lawmakers and ask for their support:
News About the American Music Fairness Act